Calls to Abolish the EPA

There are plenty of voices in the Tea Party and even the general Republican Party that want to abolish the EPA, either by defunding it, abolishing it altogether, or curtailing its power.

The EPA may be a bloated government bureaucracy. But if you just get rid of it, who does its job? The states? Really? Fifty states will each protect their own environment? It seems to me that would make bureaucracy 50 times as large, to do the same job, or, more likely, the job won’t get done the same way.

The EPA protects us from many different threats and looks out for the health of  the people. It may kill jobs by doing that. Let’s just take a look at one industry that the EPA is regulating, the coal industry, which is one of the most significant polluters in the world.

One of the biggest problems associated with coal-fired power plants is the coal ash, which is laced with arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxic chemicals. If these substances make it into the water supply or the general environment, they can be deadly. They certainly cause all sorts of illnesses and birth defects. The industry does not have a strategy for safely disposing the 130 million tons of ash it produces every year.

How much is 130 million tons of ash? Enough to fill a million railroad cars.

An August 2010 joint study by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club reported that 39 coal ash dump sites in 21 states have contaminated local drinking water or surface water with arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals at levels that exceed federal safe drinking water standards. This is in addition to 98 coal ash sites that are polluting local water supplies that were already identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In response to these and other threats, new regulations are in the making to require an upgrade of the management of coal ash storage facilities so as to avoid contaminating local groundwater supplies. In addition, EPA is issuing more stringent regulations on coal plant emissions, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The goal is to reduce chronic respiratory illnesses, such as asthma in children, and the deaths caused by coal-fired power plant emissions.

[Source: Brown, Lester R. (2011-01-06). World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (Kindle Locations 2681-2687). Norton. Kindle Edition.]

Do these congressmen we have seen in the video above really believe that the fifty states would adequately regulate the coal industry and come up with a consistent plan for disposing coal ash safely?

A ludicrous thought.

One thought on “Calls to Abolish the EPA

  1. Anonymous

    I think they are using a divide and conquer strategy. Republicans would defund the EPA if they could. However, since the electorate won’t tolerate that, they decided to use the concept of States Rights to make it much more vulnerable to elimination or at least marginalization.

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